The “three things” concept came from a friend via text message years ago and is now a go-to conversation starter between us. She’s the type of friend I don’t talk to often but when we do, “three things” gets us caught up on what’s truly important in each other’s lives.
How often are we on autopilot and respond to “How are you?” with a quick “I’m good!” This generic conversation starter typically lends itself to generic answers. We can easily skirt around what’s really going on in our lives by deflecting—“I am great! How are you?”
The “three things” text or phone call challenges us to go deeper while being mindful of our often too busy to really connect lives. To tell a story. To paint a picture of our lives far beyond what is just “good.”
There’s no formula to the response. They can be three thoughts about the same issue or challenge. They can be three random thoughts about food or current events. The point is to get deeper than the surface by providing a snapshot of three things occupying your mind and heart.
Hi, friend! Tell me three things.
- My youngest started kindergarten last week and I can’t stop crying.
- Have you tried the new pistachio latte at Starbucks?
- We finally booked that vacation I was telling you about!
I have found that three simple things almost always lead to longer conversations or a phone call, and it has helped me feel quickly connected in a world that tells us we don’t have the luxury of time.
As I get older and it becomes more and more challenging to keep up with friends who have their own families and soccer practices and dinner to cook and laundry to fold, I am grateful for friends who challenge me to share the pieces of me that I might not otherwise if someone were to just ask, “How are you?”